Friday, October 30, 2009

Late to the evolutionary party

Let’s be clear about this; we have arrived late to the evolutionary party. In a now well-known analogy that places the evolution of Earth within a single year calendar - from Jan 1st to Dec 31st – with each day of the year equal to 12 million years, then the first form of life, a simple bacterium, arose sometime in February. More complex life-forms arrived throughout Spring and Summer, and fishes came to the party around late November 20th. Then the bouncers – the dinosaurs - finally arrived around December 10th, only to disappear drunk on Christmas Day. It wasn’t until the afternoon of December 31st that the first of our recognizable human ancestors showed-up (typically late!). So when did we - homo sapiens sapiens – gate-crash the party? Well, we knocked on the door around 11.45pm; which makes all recorded history taking place within the final minute of the year. We are, in all respects, a rapid evolutionary phenomenon. And it’s going to get a whole lot more rapid. Which means we need to ditch the ‘old mind’ as fast as possible before we take too many wrong decisions or succumb to mounting insecurities. Our ‘old mind’ was set up to be on the look-out for insecurities and fear-situations: it was our survival apparatus. Yet this apparatus has continued to be reinforced through social conditioning, resulting in limited perceptual capacity. What is required now is a reinvigoration of vision: everything that we have culturally achieved has been the result of human vision. The human imagination is a primary force; it allows intervention of energies and guidance. It is both creative and destructive, and through it we are able to manifest the ‘world’ we envision. We now need to upgrade our visionary capacity, to open up more fully to inspired thoughts and guidance. To fail to do so will be a great loss for our species as these are critical times for the instinctive perceptual faculties, and we need to bring these ‘organs’ into being. As the revered Persian poet Jalalludin Rumi once wrote:

New organs of perception come into being as a result of necessity.

Therefore, O man, increase your necessity, so that you may
increase your perception.

Every change requires a change in consciousness; this has always been the case. Many of us are now slowly beginning to recognize this fact and to cooperate with the upgrade. The transition stage we are to experience in the grander evolutionary cycle will likewise affect the evolution of human consciousness, and may result in new capacities being catalyzed into emergence. Yet at the same time, it is important that we ourselves participate in an effort to shift our thinking patterns – to develop a new ‘mind-set’. If a person’s mind-set is rigidly fixed into the ‘old patterns’ of thinking, then these perceptions will feel threatened by drastic change. It may even try to resist strongly, as it fights to retain a familiar environment where it is ‘business as usual’. Yet the 21st Century will not be a place for ‘business as usual’; it will be a new epoch and as such it deserves a corresponding consciousness.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ancient styles of thinking

Many of us are unsuspecting of the degree of insecurity that governs our perceptive abilities. We focus on the immediate and seemingly ignore the long-term, despite the long-term having the greater urgency in scale. Our social institutions and media continue to reinforce the immediate and short-term, thus stregthening our social myopia. As a telling example a recently published report in the UK, titled Beyond Terror: The Truth About the Real Threats to Our World, focused on the disproportionate attention given to terrorism in the ‘short-term’ compared to the threats that although resulting in more fatalities were classed as ongoing ‘long-term’ problems. The report stated that in 2001 in the US alone the following number of Americans were killed from various causes:
Malnutrition - 3, 500
HIV/Aids - 14, 000
Pneumonia - 62, 000
Heart disease - 700, 000+
Suicide - 30, 000+
Traffic accidents - 42, 000+
Fire-arms related - 30, 000
Homicides - 20, 000+

Whereas international terrorism stood at around 2, 500. This shows our ‘old mind’ at work, how it perceives and prioritizes events. It is also a mind that goes very far back into our species evolution; a mind that evolved to deal with a very different world. Our early history equipped us to live in relatively stable environments within small communities; challenges were short-term and nearby. The human mind thus evolved to deal with slow-impact short-term changes. The world that made our mind is now gone, and the world we have created around us is a new world; paradoxically it is a world that we have developed limited capacity to comprehend. It is fair to say that we now have a mismatch between the human mind we possess and the world we inhabit today. Most of the momentous changes in our cultural history have taken less than one hundred years; these days we don’t have that luxury of time as events are rapidly changing around us before human cultural evolution has had time to readapt. Cultural evolution has worked more or less well until the present century; now it finds itself hampered by an outdated human perceptual system. Contemporary society still relies too heavily – and unconsciously – upon ancient modes of thought and ancient styles of thinking. This begs the question: can a collective and rapid ‘change of mind’ occur on this planet? In the words of one neurologist, ‘conscious evolution needs to take the place of unconscious cultural evolution’.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A New Mind for a New World

We all share a common psychological environment which many of us, most of the time, take for granted. We have underestimated the impact of human thought worldwide, neglecting to consider the power of destructive thought and ‘mental pollution’ upon a sensitive and responsive biosphere. Within an integral world (and also within a total integral universe) – everything counts. How we are taught (or conditioned) to think will affect how our species manages cultural development and its subsequent intervention into Earth’s living systems. It can be stated that for the most part humanity unknowingly participates within a cultural hypnosis. From early childhood our experiences are established to conform to our specific ‘cultural norm’; any ‘anomalies’ are usually corrected and then reinforced through various socialising processes such as family, school, friends, etc. Thus, our ‘world’ is often given to us through the medium of particular cultural filters, and so each of us is literally hypnotised from infancy to perceive the world as the way people in our culture perceive it. This is a very powerful behavioural and perceptual socialising mechanism. To break from this indoctrinated perceptual environment is extremely difficult, and often beset with many personal problems arising from peer pressure and friendship-family ties. A ‘shock’ is often necessary in order to catalyse one’s own ‘change of mind’. Such experiences as a ‘near-death experience’ (NDE) are often cited as examples which radically change people’s life views. What we may be experienceing on a collective level through our planetary evolutionary transition is a species near-death experience. If this doesn’t shock us awake then we may as well sleep forever.

For a ‘new mind’ to emerge during the times ahead it will be necessary for people to take power back into their own perceptual mechanisms; to empower themselves by withholding legitimacy towards old and outdated modes of thinking. Social philospher Willis Harman has described this by stating – ‘by deliberately changing their internal images of reality, people can change the world’. This change then requires us to take back our legitimacy unto ourselves; to decide carefully on what we think, how we think, and which beliefs we choose to adapt. This also concerns our opinions, agreements, and support, which we have previously been all too-ready to give away. Our beliefs, perceptions, and state of mind are crucial for how we understand the world around us. Thus, by giving away our right over the power to choose how we wish to perceive the world serves to empower others over us. This, in essence, is the crux of social control, and this mechanism belongs to the paradigm of the ‘old world’ and will have no place in a world that is ‘post-transition’.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Time for a Mental Shift

The next series of posts will be extracts from one of the chapters from my new book:

The difficulty we find ourselves in at the present time is that parallel to the dramatic physical changes we are currently experiencing there is also pressure for a simultaneous mental shift. This is a shift in thinking as least as significant as was the Enlightenment shift from a heliocentric worldview to a humanistic one. The Cartesian view of a mechanistic universe is outdated and incompatible within an evolutionary paradigm. What is required is a total change in our human perception. For example, new findings in quantum biology inform us that in contrast to stories of evolution through competition and strength, evolution works by symbiotic relationships and co-operation. Inter-cellular communication and gene-transfer are processes that involve co-operation in information sharing. It is necessary that the findings in the ‘new sciences’ help to push forward a thinking more in-line with natural, environmental, and universal principles. Ultimately, change begins with one’s own mind-set and worldview: as the Delphic inscription instructs us to ‘Know Thyself’.

Schopenhauer famously said that ‘everyone takes the limits of his own vision for the limits of the world’. If we can develop and expand the perception of our own limits we can go some way towards changing how we view the extraordinary capacity inherent in the world around us. There is an old Chinese proverb that warns us ‘If we don’t change our direction, we are likely to wind up where we are headed’ - and where we are headed is as much as a collective situation as it is individual. Further, it is as much of an individual psychological responsibility as it is collective. What this suggests is that how we think globally reflects the reality of the world we inhabit. And as our once familiar world begins to readapt to a new phase so must our understanding; otherwise we may find life increasingly difficult, stressful, and not only incomprehensible but outright hostile. We have to accept that it is our responsibility – our imperative – to make ourselves adaptable to a constantly evolving natural and cosmic environment. Perhaps for the first time in history conscious evolution has ceased to be a choice open to humanity and has become a necessity on which our future depends.

Conscious evolution is about acquiring evolutionary consciousness - to think in terms of the macro, of the direction our species is taking. It is our evolutionary imperative to enagage actively in conscious and intentional evolutionary transformation if we are to remain as a viable living species upon Planet Earth. We need to bring forth a new mind in order to accept a new world.